DALLAS – Tim Hardaway Jr. will undergo surgery sometimes next week to repair a stress reaction he had in his left tibia that plagued his ability to perform this season.
The injury caused the Dallas Mavericks’ guard to miss the final 11 games of the season and disrupt any progress he had made following a mid-season trade. Hardaway, though, vows to be back and fully healthy in time for the opening of training camp next fall.
“I’ve never had a surgery before in my entire life, so this is the first time ever anything (is) getting into my body,” Hardaway said at the Mavs’ exit interview session on Thursday at American Airlines Center. “I just know that I have to make sure I take care of my body, make sure I’m healthy throughout the process and make sure I go about it the right way and not come back too quick.”
Getting healthy is obviously Priority No. 1 for Hardaway, who the Mavs acquired during a Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks.
“I’ve got surgery coming up, get that taken care of and be back within the middle of the summer, hopefully, which is the plan, and get the ball rolling and get ready for training camp,” Hardaway said. “I just miss being out there with the guys most importantly.
“I was playing through an injury basically the whole entire season. I think that just shows a lot about my character and shows a lot about how much I care for the guys in that locker room.”
In 19 games with the Mavs this season, Hardaway averaged 15.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per contest. The Mavs are just elated that the medical issues which kept him off the court late this season will soon be taken care of.
“Things are on schedule and Timmie’s really excited,” said Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations. “Obviously we’ve got some building blocks here that are going to be kind of the new Mavs as Dirk (Nowitzki) passes the baton off.
“So he’ll be at full strength come training camp.”
Hardaway plans to reach out to others who have had this type of surgery before once his surgery occurs.
“I think for now I’ve just been listening to our doctors and our staff and just making sure I prepare accordingly and making sure everything is going in the right direction,” he said. “I’ve never had this before.
“I’ve never asked anybody questions about it. So I’m not going to get too in depth. Just know that I will be ready next season.”